The best American soccer players in history

27/04/2024 Betting News

There’s a belief that soccer – or football, if you’re from a place where this list truly refers to – isn’t as highly regarded as other sports in the United States, and that the talent pool isn’t particularly impressive considering the size of the country. However, that’s not entirely accurate, especially when considering the fact that the men’s national team has qualified for the knockout stages of 4 out of the last 8 World Cups. Some stars of the U.S. soccer team have certainly captivated fans. They are surely names that Wintips admin will mention in the article “Top 10 best American soccer players” right below.

Best American soccer players in history
Best American soccer players in history

Best American soccer players ever – Top 10

1/ Christian Pulisic

At just 23 years old, Christian Pulisic has emerged as one of the top male athletes in American sports. This holds true even though he has yet to produce any truly memorable moments in the colors of the U.S. national team. In fact, at the moment, Pulisic is best known for one of the biggest disappointments in U.S. soccer—a notorious miss in 2018 when the U.S. failed to qualify for the World Cup in Russia.

C. Pulisic is the best American player today
C. Pulisic is the best American player today

However, his club achievements have sparked hope, even promise, that Pulisic could deliver moments in the U.S. jersey. The pride of Hershey, Pa., has won the prestigious UEFA Champions League title with Chelsea. Pulisic, who led the United States to the 2019/20 CONCACAF Nations League title, is still waiting for his signature international moment.

2/ DaMarcus Beasley – Best American soccer players

Beasley has captivated fans across the country with an enduring international career that spans the globe. With years spent playing for Dutch club PSV, Scottish club Rangers, German club Hannover, and Mexican club Puebla, along with a loan spell at Manchester City, Beasley has checked all the boxes on the international stage.

Beasley plays as both a left winger and a left wing-back
Beasley plays as both a left winger and a left wing-back

He has bolstered his overseas career with extended stints at MLS clubs Chicago Fire and Houston Dynamo, winning the US Open Cup three times. But Beasley’s finest moments undoubtedly came in the colors of the U.S. national team.

3/ Claudio Reyna

As the son of Argentine parents, Claudio Reyna epitomized American soccer throughout his career. Despite receiving offers from European clubs, Reyna chose to play college soccer at the University of Virginia under coach Bruce Arena, where he won the prestigious MAC Hermann Trophy as the nation’s top college player.

Best American soccer players in history
C. Reyna is an American former professional football player and former CEO of Austin FC

This decision led Reyna to a stellar club career, including stints with German clubs Bayer Leverkusen and Wolfsburg, Scottish giants Rangers, and English clubs Sunderland and Manchester City before ending his career with the New York Red Bulls domestically. While Reyna’s career was filled with injuries that often prevented him from playing consistently, he still made a significant impact wherever he went.

4/ Brian McBride – Best American soccer players

A fearless competitor—unafraid of opponents or injury—Brian McBride is renowned for leaving it all on the field. Seven years with the Columbus Crew led to a move to Fulham, where in just four years McBride became a club legend in London, with his name now etched on a restaurant and bar within Fulham’s Craven Cottage grounds.

Best American soccer players in history
McBride is an American former footballer who played for Fulham

Leading the club in scoring during the 2006/07 Premier League season, he was awarded the captain’s armband, and he returned from a horrific knee injury to rescue the club, netting three goals in the famous relegation battle of 2007/08 known throughout the club as “The Great Escape”.

5/ Michael Bradley

During his peak, Michael Bradley was the engine driving the United States forward, an endless source of energy gradually wearing down opponents until one of his trademark long-range passes delivered the knockout blow.

Best American soccer players in history
Bradley is a former professional footballer at Stabæk FC

As a midfield maestro, Bradley is one of only three Americans to have earned 150 caps for the national team. He enjoyed a successful career in Europe, playing for German side Borussia Monchengladbach and Italian clubs Chievo Verona and AS Roma. His time at Roma marked the pinnacle of his career.

Bradley earned his first international cap at the age of 18 and would go on to become a vital part of the United States midfield for over a decade. For a long stretch, he was the first name on the team sheet when building the national team lineup.

6/ Brad Friedel – Best American soccer players

Whether you consider him the greatest American goalkeeper of all time or not, Brad Friedel’s contributions to U.S. soccer have undoubtedly cemented him as one of the country’s top players of all time. Friedel spent the majority of his club career with Blackburn Rovers, making 288 appearances over 8 years of service.

Best American soccer players in history
Goalkeeper B. Friedel was very prominent in the EPL

He also featured over 100 times for Aston Villa before concluding his career with 4 years at Tottenham. Friedel was a stalwart in the top flight of English football, ending with the most Premier League appearances (450) of any North or South American player to date, and second only to Australia’s Mark Schwarzer in appearances by a non-European player.

7/ Tim Howard – Best American soccer players

In a controversial choice, according to the definition of this list, Tim Howard is the greatest American goalkeeper to have played the game. He began his career with the MetroStars, now known as the New York Red Bulls, in MLS before making a bold move to Manchester United.

Best American soccer players in history
Everton’s No.1 keeper for a long time – Tim Howard

His 45 appearances for the Red Devils witnessed his stock rise, and he eventually transferred to Everton, where he would play for 10 years and amass 329 appearances. Howard’s international career is equally memorable; he became the leader of the USMNT and appeared in two World Cups. His World Cup debut against England in 2014 was a standout performance, helping the United States secure a 1 – 1 draw.

8/ Clint Dempsey

If there’s one word to describe Clint Dempsey, it’s “swagger,” but that doesn’t do justice to his actual footballing ability, which is truly remarkable. “Deuce” wasn’t always the most consistent player and would sometimes go missing at both club and international levels. He often needed to adapt a system to maximize his effectiveness. But at his peak, Dempsey could not be contained, tearing through opposing defenses and capitalizing on opportunities. Bruce Arena described Dempsey perfectly with three simple words: “He tries hard”.

Striker Clint Dempsey possesses impressive finishing ability
Striker Clint Dempsey possesses impressive finishing ability

His stunning goal in 2010 for Fulham against Juventus in the Europa League marked one of European football’s greatest matches and perfectly encapsulated what Dempsey was as a player—bold. At the international level, he became the fifth-fastest goal scorer in World Cup history with the opening goal against Ghana in 2014, and he remains Fulham’s all-time leading Premier League goal scorer with 50 goals.

9/ Landon Donovan – Best American soccer players

Few would argue that Landon Donovan is the greatest male soccer player in U.S. history. He had everything you could ask for in a player: success at the club level, iconic moments with the national team, and longevity in his career.

Timothy Donovan holds multiple personal records in Major League Soccer
Timothy Donovan holds multiple personal records in Major League Soccer

Donovan featured for the national team in the 2002 World Cup, earning the tournament’s Best Young Player award as the United States made a historic run to the quarterfinals. He primarily played for LA Galaxy in his club career but had two loan spells at Everton in the Premier League in 2010 and 2012.

Donovan’s impact extended beyond his playing ability; he was a symbol of soccer’s growth in the United States. His achievements helped popularize the sport and inspire a new generation of American players.

10/ Coby Jones

Coventry City fans can immediately recognise the Cobi Jones National Football Hall, despite spending only a single season at Highfield Road during the 1994/95 campaign. Signed from the U.S. Soccer League, Coventry represented Jones’ first foray at a professional club, although he had made over 30 appearances for his national team – including featuring at the 1994 World Cup – before that.

Best American soccer players in history
C. Michael Jones plays as a defender for Sporting Kansas City

Over the course of the next decade, Jones established himself as the U.S. men’s team’s all-time player, with 164 caps for the national team by the end of his international career in 2004. He was playing for LA Galaxy at the time, where he spent 12 seasons after joining MLS in 1996.


A multitude of outstanding players have brought about memorable moments and spectacular victories over the years. The current generation hopes to build upon that success, but they will have to give plenty of reasons to surpass those who came before them, individuals who still rank among the greatest players ever to grace the soccer field in the United States. In the upcoming articles, the top bookmaker website will bring you more interesting news, so stay tuned.

See also: Who is the best duos in soccer all of time?

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